Post Script - Society of Control

By Audio Pervert - 11/05/2019

Post-modern philosophy (rewind to the 1950's please) provides many definitions, ideas and theories which help us understand the way human beings have come to view and define themselves (by choice or by force). Some folks might be turned-off by structures, labels, historicism, jargons, complicated diagrams, big paragraphs and equations - often discarded as "weird for the sake of weird" A mindset that can be put out, to soak the sun for now. Post-modern philosophy of the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's has slipped out of the book-shelfs, percolating and impacting emerging culture, art and music in the 21st century. Post-modern philosophers like Adorno, Horkheimer, Foucault, Jaques Derrida, Lacan and Guattari, John Berger and many more dismantled most of the classical structures and theories, creating new 'highways' for thought, deconstruction and perception. To be able to see, understand and explain culture, in new and more profound ways. They assimilated and deconstructed the complexities of politics, economics, society, psychology, science and culture into several counter-narratives - which made 'sense' to the post-80s generations, be they scholars or writers or film-directors or artists or cyber-punks or hackers or anyone remotely interested in life and society. A 'Society of Control' did we say? 

Of the many post-modern theories and prophecies, we turn our attention to a particularly disturbing one, called 'Societies of Control' by Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) - 'Societies of Control' explains in great detail the structure (imagine a farm with some sheep) - the space inside which we we live, think and create. Basically how and why we may think and behave as 'particular' pre-determined models. The forces and barriers, mostly invisible (and indivisible) which maintain inequality, bias and control = Overall Hegemony. Over who? You, me, that guy across the road, the woman on T.V reading the (bad) news, the politician harping on bad ideas, the rocker gyrating on stage, the diva on a world tour, the celebrities on the billboards, models on the cover of magazines, the girls eating bananas on instagram, the seething masses clicking away inside facebook, the refugees floating in the middle of the sea, the online trolls, the anonymous, the cops, the gangs, the outsiders and the insiders ... pretty much everyone. Member constitutes inside a 'Society of Control'. So, as an artist or musician why should I care? I'm just a momentary blip in the continuum of history... And Don't Bore Us, Get To The Chorus!

Wake up Deleuze!
"We are at the beginning of something..." mused Gilles Deleuze circa 1978.  What he was pointing to manifested 40 odd years later in ways unforeseen. Fast forward - as we see today with the algorithms that Facebook uses to target people on the basis of colour, income, sex, location, based on political, social and cultural orientation and worst, all the personal information. The world's biggest social media system is controlled by less than twenty people (ordained by 'King' Zuck) on behalf of 2.2 Billion Users! A system that is full of f**k ups and visibly falling apart. Mark Zuckerberg's dream is at best a messianic hoax of 'I-can-change-the-world'. The cute-face Harvard dropout in essence is an harbinger of bad ideas, openly championing a globalised society of control. The videos and photos of mass shootings, police brutality, counter-propaganda, misinformation, race and gender based hate which shows up as everyday content on Facebook actually mirrors what Gilles Deleuz explained in his theory of 'late-stage capitalism and public schizophrenia'. "Members of a society would be reduced to actors on a stage, be it the rich or the poor. Left or right, men, women and children ...  playing the same role for the rest of their lives inside a pre-ordained visually rich mega-structure. Those who would try to break out, rebel or demand change would either be punished, banned or discarded as persona-non-grata..." Can we end this nightmare please !?

Foucault's Kickback!
Language controls us. But we are not talking about english, spanish or chinese or even binary. That which gives us meaning and consequently we are able to give meanings to the world. Foucault explains this idea by using the example of the term 'homosexual'. As practice it has existed for thousands of years, in every race and culture (even animals) - But without any classification (separation) as such. As a 'concept' it came into existence around 180 years ago, in France. The subject (any homosexual person) was then labelled on grounds of morality and also seen medically and legally 'different'. Since then, this group has been unfairly judged, excluded and persecuted, called 'sick', not allowed to vote or worship and even punished and murdered for their choice (identity). Not just in France, but across the world. But who created that universal identity in the first place? How can we use one word  to define many different people? have we accepted it as a norm? And we are still using it right? to define the others. The operatives of cultural fascism do not end at vilifying homosexuality or creating unfair labels. The same applies for masculinity, femininity, binary and such crappy labels that we all love to 'wear and show'. Less we be considered plain ordinary! That 'language' is what actually controls us. Jump! just because you can. From Adidas to Football to Techno to Berlin - jump Nike to Basketball to Hip-hop to New York. Same thing actually. Dare we skip the difference in logos. Less we ignore that both the brands exploit thousands of wage-slaves (earning roughly 3/4 dollars a day) across the third world, to produce 'goods' that we buy at such 'wow' prices. "Just-do-it" they said. Pardon, we digressed a bit too far...

Eventually the culture-industry and it's innate fascism will 'eat-up' whatever was considered  disgusting, shocking or simply outside the norm and practice. After all, consume it must in order to produce endlessly. More black and trans people appear on television adverts than ever, however dancing and jumping for brands of late-capitalism. Bjork love-songs are used to sell cars which eventually spill poison into the air. Wear black or rainbow colours or adorn a mask, the submission to a prefabricated image (and role) is clear. The The 4/4 will not stop. Nor will the flow of clones, to fulfill the demand and supply. In music the post-modern shift in the narrative is very similar. Even more the case with electronic music today. The space and volume which was dominated by a few white men for a long time, is now hogged by the transgender, black, exotic asian and blonde-divas and perhaps by 2030 it will be ruled by AI robots.  So have the 'Societies of Control' been achieved yet? Colonised our minds yet? 60 odd years into post-modernism, a lot has changed and for the better - shedding labels, fighting against fixed ideas, morals and prejudices. Constantly kicking the old definitions out and shaping new ones. But Prometheus still carries on... Which is to say that the singular narrative which controls most of humanity, made of hierarchy, power, exclusivity and bias has not changed. The best part, most of these structures are willy-nilly failing and falling apart. Hindsight is 2020 they said? a saying which means "It's easy to do the right thing after something has already happened, but it's almost impossible to predict the future." We end our rant with some nice ideas below by Jaques Derrida. Read more about Derrida's theories manifesting in contemporary electronic music.

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